Series Preview: St. Johns Red Storm

When: March 4 – March 6

Where: Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium Tallahassee, FL

Friday Match-up: RHP Mike Compton (1-1 1.69ERA) vs RHP Joey Christopher (0-0 8.44ERA)

Saturday Match-up: RHP Drew Carlton (2-0 1.64ERA) vs TBD

Sunday Match-up: RHP Cole Sands (0-0 0.90ERA) vs RHP Ryan McAuliffe (0-0 1.86ERA)

Player to Watch FSU: IF Taylor Walls

Player to Watch SJU: OF Alex Caruso, RHP Thomas Hackimer


Florida State is coming off of a rocky midweek set against Jacksonville and Villanova. Jacksonville defeated the Seminoles by a score of 7-3 and it took the Seminoles 14 innings to dispatch Villanova by a score of 11-10. This weekend doesn’t get any easier for Florida State as they welcome their second consecutive Big East team to Dick Howser Stadium. Saint John’s was a consensus top 30 team heading into the season and was predicted to finish 2nd in the Big East preseason poll.

Florida State is looking to ride on some momentum acquired after the thrilling extra inning win on Wednesday night. The story through the first two weekend series of the season has been the dominance of the starting pitching. Compton, Carlton, and Sands have all either met or exceeded expectations heading into the season. Compton has been setting the tone thus far as the senior head of the rotation, but Carlton and Sands have been equally impressive. Carlton leads the team in strikeouts with 12 and Cole Sands has only allowed a .167 batting average against, only six hits in ten innings pitched. The trio of starters will look to go deep into the games this weekend as starters during the week only pitched 6/23 innings. The bullpen was used pretty heavily, especially during the extra inning affair with Villanova, so Compton will try to set the tone on Friday night.

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Florida State’s offense has been rolling in games they win and not so much in games that they lose. The Seminoles are averaging 13.3 runs per game in victories thus far and are only averaging 2.0 runs per game in losses. Granted this is a very small sample size but it shows that thus far the Seminoles have been all or none in terms of offensive production. The player to watch this week for FSU has been one of the main offensive contributors this season, shortstop Taylor Walls. Walls is second on the team in hits (15) and is first on the team in runs scored (13). Walls recently took over the lead off spot after the early season struggles of Ben DeLuzio. Walls also stole three bases in the first two innings last game against Villanova so the speed is clearly there. Look for Walls to get on base early and often against St. John’s and for him to wreak havoc on the basepaths.

The players to watch for St. John’s are both senior captains for the Red Storm. Alex Caruso was named the Preseason Big East Player of the Year and Thomas Hackimer was named the Preseason Big East Pitcher of the Year. Caruso has struggled entering the season, hitting a paltry .182, but he has been consistently one of the best players on this team, so he may be turning it around very shortly. Hackimer was also named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year watch list. Hackimer is the active Division-1 leader in both appearances (99) and saves (25), so depending on how long Hackimer goes for the Red Storm, the game might be out of reach by the time he comes in.

This is the first time that the Seminoles and the Red Storm will play against each other. Both rank in the top ten in terms of all-time NCAA Tournament appearances. No matter how this series turns out it should be exciting.

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